Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 6: Farm Food and the Cutting Board

~Thank you for bringing back your empty boxes so we can reuse them!~ The boxes are high quality, waxed boxes to ensure that your produce stays fresh…and they are pricy.

Farm Food and the Cutting Board
I have a secret to share. I have a veggie kit. The veggie kit is not my secret, it is a necessary tool. The veggie kit is essential to my survival, because it makes veggie prep flow with ease- straight in the salad bowl or sauté pan! I have large 2 gallon tuber ware tub for soaking veggies, a large plastic colander, a large chef knife, my 1 ½ foot by 1 foot cutting board, and my 1 gallon composting tub.  The secret is connected to yoga and meditation. Yep. Veggies and meditation. Chopping veggies is a calming meditation.  I let go of the feelings of tiredness, hunger, and anticipation and I just chop. I don’t focus frustration on the onion. I let go and focus on straight lines.  Straight chop lines radiate from my hand to my knife and through the veggies.  Distractions? Sure.  We don’t have kids, but we eat our large main meal in the middle of our busy dawn to dusk work day, so our work follows us to the preparation of the meal.  And sometimes we are interrupted by our chickens, sheep, pigs, or dogs misbehaving through the window.  15 minutes of chopping onions, kale, chard, radishes, zucchini and I have a pile of veggies just waiting be layered into the sauté pan or in to the salad bowl or both.  20 minutes later and I have a salad, rice, and sautéed veggies ready for the table.  I haven’t always felt this way about chopping veggies. It has been a gradual progression.  Fresh tasty vegetables bring such health and glow into our lives, why should be begrudge the time spent chopping and sautéing them?
Do you have veggie questions of need more cooking inspiration? Just ask us! 

Peas have a very short harvest window. (10 days) This is the last of the crunchy peas that the plants will produce. Short and sweet!
Below…Kale pesto recipe, Swiss chard frittata recipe

Farm Fresh Harvest
Summer squash and Zucchini-  The rain has not been kind to the squash.  Too much damp causes problems with the fruit.  We’ve selected the most tender and delicate fruit for your box.
Cucumbers- This is the first of the cucumbers! Ahh…The bright, crisp smell of summer!  Cucumbers come in all shapes and sizes.  We grow little mini cucumbers, large crisp American slicers, and delicate slender European cucumbers.
Sugar snap peas-Peas are a great spring treat.  Enjoy their sweet crunch plain as a snack, in a stir fry, or in a salad.
Scallions- Scallions are a spring or green onion.  Eat the white stalk and the green leaves! They add a sweet, mild onion flavor to any dish! Great raw or substitute a few scallions for a big onion in cooking.
-Lettuce- Buttercrunch Baby leaf- This is the last of the buttercrunch…you will notice that it is loose leaves this week instead of a head of lettuce.  We hope to have the last bit of baby lettuce in 1 or 2 weeks.
Curly Kale-  Best for kale chips! Also great raw in a salad… chop finely, marinate with balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes, and add to a salad.
Swiss chard- Rainbow swiss chard.  I enjoy it just barely wilted down. I usually use about 2 tablespoons of butter to sauté a large onion and the stems and then add an entire bunch of chard. (sautéed until bright green) Adds color and dark healthy green to any dish.  We use in place of spinach in many dishes-in a tomato sauce, in omelets and quiches, or just sautéed with onions and served as a side. Recipe below


Turkish Beef, Kale, and Rice Casserole
This filling dish is inspired by the delicious kale rolls (like cabbage rolls) that I enjoyed while staying with a Turkish family at their organic honey and egg farm.   That meal was vegetarian, since meat was above their means.  In most restaurants in Turkey the meat would be ground lamb.
This dish is also a spinoff of the traditional beef and rice casserole that easily feeds a hungry family.  This is also a quick casserole because you just mix the greens with the rice and beef instead of carefully wrapping the rice and beef into little rolls.

3 cups cooked rice (about 1 ½ cups of uncooked rice) The variety of rice is your choice- I used the end of 3 types of rice and it turned out great!
1 lb. ground beef (you may also use ground lamb)
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon coriander
½ tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)
1 bunch curly kale, washed, stems removed, and finely chopped

1 (16 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
Brown ground beef, onions, and spices in a large skillet until meat is halfway done (still very pink inside.)  Meanwhile, blanch the chopped kale in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.  Add blanched, drained kale to the beef mixture and cook until beef is done.
Combine cooked rice and beef and kale mixture in an 11x7 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl mix diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and stir until tomato paste is smooth, adding water if needed.  Cover and bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until warmed through and bubbly.

Kale Pesto
This recipe is a winner.  Almost everyone loves kale chips ,right? Well, this recipe is the 2nd best sneaky food trick you can do with kale right next to making kale chips.  I add more garlic and salt to my version of this kale pesto.  I also double the recipe and use 2 bunches of kale. If you are going to dirty your food processor, may as well make some extra, right? 
Recipe is as follows…from Farmer John’s Cookbook, The Real Dirt on Vegetables
While your Italian grandmother might cringe at this being called a pesto, reassure her that this is just a contemporary spin on that classic dish and you will continue to also make it with basil and pine nuts.  But still, make this dish for her- she will certainly be won over.  This version of pesto is particularly good over roasted potatoes, but it works great over pasta, too.  You can freeze it, but if you do, don’t add the cheese; simply mix it in after the pesto has thawed, when you are ready to serve. Shareholder (adapted from the Seed Savers Calendar, 1998).

Kale Pesto
Makes about 1 cup

¼ cup                                    chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon plus
½ teaspoon                        salt, divided
½ pound                              kale coarsely chopped (1 bunch)
2 cloves                                                garlic
½ cup                                    extra virgin olive oil
½ cup                                    freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ½ ounces)
                                                Freshly ground  black pepper

1.        Toast the chopped walnuts in a dry, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly, until they start to brown in spots and become fragrant.  (Be careful not to over toast them, as the will burn very quickly once they are toasted.) Immediately transfer the walnuts to a dish to cool.
2.       Bring two quarts of water to a boil.  Add 1 tablespoon salt, then add the kale.  Cook kale until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. (I only cooked the kale 5 minutes.)
3.       Put the garlic in a blender or food processor and pulse until minced.
4.       Add the walnuts and kale; pulse until well combined.  With the blender or food processor running, pour in the olive oil in a stead smooth pencil-thin stream.
5.       When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer to a bowl.  Stir in the Parmesan, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper.  Serve hot or chilled.

Sugar snap peas are a real garden treat.  The entire crunchy pod and juicy peas are edible. Just break off the tiny stem.  Every year we thick about not growing sugar snap peas, because their window of pea production is so short and it takes forever to pick them!  We end up growing them because they are so delicious, and we want to make sure our CSA members get some special veggies! Their season is very short; we’ll only have them for a few weeks. 
Garlic Stir-Fried Snap Peas
From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce.  Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. Submitted by Oak Ridge Farm
3 cups sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon oil (any mild one)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked rice (optional) (you can also try quinoa)
Heat oil in skillet. Stir in garlic. Add peas; cook and stir 2-4 minutes on medium-high heat.  Remove and sprinkle on lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Serve over rice, if desired.  Makes 3-4 servings.
Note: I add scallions to my stir-fry when I add the peas.  Stir-Fried Snap Peas goes well with stir-fried kale. Blanch chopped kale for 5 minutes, drain well and pat excess moisture with paper towel.  In a separate pan, over medium high heat, stir-fry 1 tablespoon oil, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and blanched kale …stir-fry for 2-4 minutes. Combine with Stir-Fried Snap Peas and serve.

Chard (or Kale or Spinach) frittata with goat cheese
Check out the link for this delicious recipe!
“ I made it tonight with your eggs, and chard, onions and goat cheese from other market vendors. Yummy!”  Caite McKinney, CSA member.

From Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine, Abourezk
Marie’s comments in italics…
Go ahead and switch the recipe up a bit!  I recommend adding sweet peppers and cucumbers with feta cheese and basil. You can also use curly kale instead of parsley! Yep!

½ cup bulgur wheat (I’ve used cous cous before too)
½ cup water
4 cups finely chopped ripe tomatoes
½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
2 large bunches parsley, about 5 cups finely chopped (1 large bunch is plenty! Chop parsley very fine- almost to a fluff) You can also use curly kale instead of parsley!
1 cup chopped onions
1 tbl dried mint flakes

1.        Rinse the bulgur, drain and then add ½ cup of the water and let stand for 15 minutes.  Place the bulgur in a large mixing bowl, then add the tomatoes and lemon juice.  Chop the parsley (very fine-almost to a fluff).  Place on top of the bulgur and tomato mixture.  Add the onion, mint flakes, and the oil and mix thoroughly.
2.        Tabbouli can be prepared a couple hours ahead of time if you wish.  Simply leave out the oil and lemon juice dressing until you’re ready to serve.  Adding the dressing too soon makes the parsley wilt and creates too much liquid in the bottom of the salad bowl.
3.       In the Arab world, tabbouli is scooped up and eaten with lettuce leaves, rather than with silverware.  Putting each serving of tabbouli inside a lettuce or a cabbage leaf rather than displaying them in a flat dish is a very tempting presentation.  Or, for an elegant looking and tasting hors d’oeuvre, cut cherry tomatoes in half, remove the center, and fill them with tabbouli.

Creamy Baked Swiss Chard and Pasta
I don’t like to call anything “noodle casserole,” so I’m renaming this dish Creamy Baked Swiss Chard and Pasta.  You may omit the parsley if you wish. You can also cut back on the sour cream and cheese.  –Marie

Printed from COOKS.COM

3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 c. chopped walnuts
1 lg. onion, thinly sliced
2 lg. carrots, coarsely grated
1 lg. bunch Swiss Chard, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 c. minced parsley
1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
8 tsp. soy sauce
1 c. sour cream
3 c. pasta
2 c. grated Jack cheese
Heat oil in large frying pan and saute nuts until lightly browned. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, and then stir in onions and carrots.
Sauté until onion is translucent, and then remove from pan. Add chard, garlic, parsley and thyme and sauté until chard is limp.
Combine soy sauce and sour cream; add to chard mixture along with walnuts, onions and carrots.
Stir to mix well. Add salt to taste. Spread pasta in a lightly greased 2 quart casserole and spoon vegetable mixture over top.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake in 400°F oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and casserole is heated through.
Serves 6.

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